So off we went to Waiheke island. Nick and Melika have a gorgeous pad over on this cool little island a half hour on the ferry from Auckland. On our first trip over they invited us to come with them for the weekend.
Waiheke has a really cool vibe to it and is full of artists and muicians and other bum types like ourselfs so we felt right at home straight away.
We got to meet up with Lyd's other uncle Nick and believe it or not his girlfriend called Nicky ( yes it is bloody confusing at first). Nick works for one of the many vinyards on Waiheke and Nicky rocks out in a cool band over there. We all went out to a cool pizza place on one of the nights where I had my first experience of the BYO thing. This means you can bring your own wine to a restaurant and only get charged a small corkadge fee to drink it there. Now wine is really cheap over here so it saves you loads.
We also did a bit of a vinyard tour on the saturday afternoon and got to sample some of the great wine at Mudbrick and Cabel Bay.
On sunday we went up to Nick's for a delicious sunday roast followed by a jam session in one of the cool little venues near one of the many gorgeous beaches on the island. It was a great way to end a brilliant weekend.
So impressed with Waiheke were we, that when Melika and Nick offered use of their pad on the island for the next weekend we lept at it.
We invited Trevor and Neasa to join us on friday and we headed over on the thursday. We rented some dvds, picked up a bottle of vino or two and settled into a nice relaxing evening. Just as we were putting the first movie on and about to settle in I noticed a massive wasp a lurkin and a sneakin about on the curtain. So bravely I suggested that I might snuff him good before the movie began. But Lydia angelically reminded me that he was doing us no harm and that indeed "was,nt he only one of god's creatures also". How right thought I. So cut to an hour later when I decide to gobble a lovely chockie bisckie over away from the couch to avoid nasty crumbs. One small step for a man, one massive sting from a wasp . Right between the toes no less. Well god's little creature ended up in the fire and I will remind Lyds of this incedent when she attempts to dissuade me from engaging in the harmless and highly amusing activity of blowing up cows with RPG rocket launchers that is all the rage in South East Asia.
Anyway the rest of the weekend was far more pleasurable. Neas and Trev joined us the next evening and we sort of carbon copied what we had done with Nick and Melika the previous weekend. So beautiful pizzas, wine tasting in the vinyards etc. On the saturday night we went to a big party up in the eco-village which was really cool.
There was a "hangi" laid on. This is similar to a Fijian Lovo, whereby the food is cooked in the ground and then laid out like a banquet for you to help yourself...delicious. Much music was played and of course I couldnt refuse the invitation to bang out a few numbers.
Neas and Trev left on the sunday and we had Nick and Nicky over for sunday dinner followed by irish coffees and dvds. another great weekend on Waiheke.
Melika and Nick had kindly lent us their Waiheke car ( the Pink Panther) for our Northland tour so on monday morning we took it over to the mainland on the car ferry and began the next part of our journey. Onwards and upwards.
This being my first time in New Zealand I have to say that the place is brilliant. The scenery is amazing, you get great value for your buck but most of all the people are fantastic. After we arrived into the airport, Lyd's rellies brought us to a food court for some grub. Basically in these places you get loads of different food stalls and you just choose which type your after, so someone can eat Indian, someone else Chinese etc.. Anyway I went for some "fush and chups", as they pronounce them here. I had never heard of any of the fish before so as is my want I was asking the guy behind the counter lots of annoying questions about what was what etc. Now in most places I could usually expect grunts and groans and the usual "wat er ya bleedin after mistar... a feckin shark" type response but not here. The guy actually took me through the different types and flavours and then after I made my choice and had paid he gave me some more different fish to try on the house. So from this, my very first kiwi interaction, that is the way it's been ever since. People here are unbelievable, they are genuinely keen for you to have a good time in their country and seem extremely proud when you tell them you are.